Is career coaching that is something for you?


Is career coaching that is something for you?

Let’s start with some questions:

  • Are you feeling unfulfilled in your current role?
  • Have you applied to multiple jobs without success?
  • Are you wondering if you are on the right career path?
  • Do you want to switch industries altogether?
  • Is your career not advancing in the way you want?

If you’ve answered “No” to all of these questions, congratulations. You can stop reading now and move on to the next interesting story that you’ve bookmarked.

If you’ve answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then the next question to ask yourself is “What am I going to do about it?”.

It can be quite daunting to think about your career and not quite know where to go next, and it often helps to talk it through with someone.

Who should you talk to?

If you’re lucky enough to have an understanding partner then they are definitely a good place to turn when faced with career dilemmas.

After all, who else knows you as well as they do, and knows the situation that you find yourself in.

You might be fortunate enough to have a network of friends who you’re close to and who can relate to your career choices and provide an external viewpoint.

Or, as is becoming quite common these days, you could speak to a career coach?

Rachel Bitte, Chief People Officer at Jobvite says that “A career coach can be a wonderful asset for any professional … Whether you’re just starting out and unsure which path to take, you’re hoping to find a new passion, or you’re ready to move to the next level, getting an outside perspective from a professional can be extremely helpful.”

What is a career coach?

As with any kind of coach (whether it be football or life), a career coach is someone who understands the situations you find yourself in and has experience and mechanisms for helping you navigate through them.

A career coach can help you :

  • understand why you are feeling unfulfilled in your current role
  • make adjustments in your approach to job applications
  • assess your career path
  • develop steps to switch industries
  • address blockages in your career

How do you know you need a career coach?

Obviously, you can choose to work with a career coach at any point in your career, but there might be specific times when getting support will be especially helpful.

Maybe you need to find a job fast because of upcoming redundancy.

Maybe you’re so frustrated at work that you see no other option than leaving.

Maybe you’ve just noticed that your work is having a significant negative impact on your life.

In all of these instances, where actions needed, a career coach can help by providing a viewpoint that comes with experience and distance, and allow you to introduce some steps relatively quickly.

Of course, you can undertake research on your own to switch careers. You can put in place a plan to make changes to turn your career in the direction you want. And many people do.

It’s the same with keeping fit. Some people will happily create a fitness regime for themselves and religiously stick to it so they can meet their goals. Other people just need the guidance and accountability that comes with a coach.

How do you know which career coach to choose?

When it comes to selecting your career coach, you can follow the Three Rs to make it easier and allow you to find the right person for you:

  • Research — Check their LinkedIn profile and website for recommendations.
  • Referrals — Ask your network of trusted people if they can recommend anyone
  • Relevance — Ensure that they understand the kind of work you do or want to do, so that they can understand your situation more fully

If I was looking to move into product management, then finding a career coach with a background in product management who is known to a number of my colleagues is going to be preferable to someone whose name I’ve found on Google and who has spent twenty years working in logistics.

At the end of the day, most coaches don’t tie you in to multiple sessions, so you can try it out and see if coaching is for you, or see if the coach is for you. This will give you a sense of whether its a good fit without you having to make a big financial commitment.

How much does a career coach cost?

It does all depend on the coach you choose and the experience you require from them, but typically you’ll encounter hourly rates of between $50 — $150 per hour.

Career coaching with me

As part of the services I provide with Getting Started in Product, I do offer some career coaching, with more of a focus on:

  • Preparing your CV or profile ahead of applying
  • Preparing for interviews
  • Taking steps to shape the direction of your product management career

If you're interested in this then you can sign up for a session here.

Actions

  • Ask yourself whether you’re happy with your current career and the path you’re on?
  • Determine if you can put a plan in place on your own, or whether you want some external guidance.
  • If you’re going external, do your research, find someone with relevance and recommendations.

Give it a go.

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